Department Head Focues on Research Expansion, Curriculum Updates

Tamal Bose is the new head of the UA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 
Tamal Bose:  Specializing in Wireless, Hard-Wired for Success

Tamal Bose, an accomplished educator and researcher who in July joined the UA as head of the electrical and computer engineering (ECE) department, has a few plans in the works for capitalizing on the strengths of the department and making it more successful.

Bose taught and researched wireless technologies at Utah State University and the University of Colorado for 18 years before moving east to Virginia Tech, where he directed wireless centers.

“I have worked in several different university systems, so I have a global perspective on what things are important to move the department forward,” he said. “Overall, we need to capitalize on the tremendous talents of our faculty.”

On Education: Reflecting the Needs of Society and Trends of Industry

The most important job of educators is to motivate students from their very first day of classes, and professors who are excited about their work and fields have an infectious influence on students, Bose said.

Technological advances, societal needs, and industry trends, all affect the direction of the department and the curriculum. In engineering fields that traditionally have been driven by problem solving, Bose sees a need to shift more toward creativity.

To that end, Bose plans to lead the modification of some course materials, especially at junior and senior levels. The best curriculum balances technologies and concepts for solving real-world problems with opportunities for ingenuity, he said.

“The curriculum should really bring out students’ creativity in ways that connect with the world.”

On Research: Partnering Within the University and Around the Globe

Another focus, Bose said, is to create better synergy within the different areas of the department and collaborate more with other departments in the UA College of Engineering, within the University of Arizona, with other universities, and with industry.

One such consortium already under way is the development of a new ECE wireless research center, which the National Science Center has expressed interest in supporting.  The UA would take the lead and collaborate with Virginia Tech, the University of Texas, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Virginia, Auburn University, Purdue – Fort Wayne, and New York University Polytechnic Institute, plus more than 30 industry partners.

At Virginia Tech, Bose directed the National Science Foundation Wireless Internet Center for Advanced Technology and was associate director of Wireless@VT, a universitywide wireless research group.

By the Numbers: Eight-Year Goals

  • Increase the department’s U.S. News College rankings from top 40 to top 25 (currently ranked at 35 for electrical engineering and 38 for computer engineering)
  • Increase research dollars per faculty member from $300,000 to $400,000
  • Increase graduate students from 150 to 250
  • Increase undergraduate students from 250 to 400
  • Establish distance educations programs

University of Arizona College of Engineering